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AFRIK-IT  April 1998

AFRIK-IT April 1998

Subject:

Re: Flag Planters

From:

Dawit Angelo <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Mon, 6 Apr 1998 06:45:43 +0300

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (123 lines)

At 08:25 AM 4/5/98 +0200, you wrote:
>If Africa is 'third world' what does that mean ? What is the actual definition
>of third world. My understanding is that it conforms neither to the New World
>or the Ancient or old World . In other words it's that great mysterious part of
>the world that does not share the same values, ideas and practices as the
>first world.

Who says Africa doesn't belong to the ancient world? Who says
conforming and sharing values and practices with the first world
is ALWAYS a virtue?

 If that's the case then where does the second world fit into the
>picture, does it have some of the third and some of the first ? Trying to
>explain the 'third world' is a waste of bandwidth, it really just implies
>backwardness in facilities, resources, amenities and technologies.

Who wasted bandwidth explaining the "third world" or the trichotomy
of worlds? Why the big fuss out of the quote encapsulation which is
commonplace along side "the so called" qualification to show exactly
what you described? This is not however, the right forum to deal with
the why and silence here doesn't constitute consent.

Don't
>ever presume to think that because one is an African , one cannot be an
>expert, that is quite preposterous to say the least.

Where did you read the presumption that Africans can not be experts?
Proposterous, eh? I don't know if I had to thank you for showing your
own pregudices or is it a doctoring ability to win an arguement? Expertise
was raised only to show the folly of those tempted to call themselves
benovelent experts providing IT solutions to African problems in light of
the fact that truely African problems that can have IT solutions are not
yet properly identified leave alone addressed, ... .

An to be honest,
>reinventing the wheel is a typically African way of doing things and quite
>unnecessary , it's one of the reasons third world  environments don't go
>forward.  If the phrase third world is encapsulated in quotes all it is saying
>is that this is not a fairly generally applicable statement. Africa in it's
>entirety is certainly not third world and Switzerland in it's entirety is
>certainly also not first world. Generally though both of them fit comfortably
>into their world label.

Now I see why you badly needed to establish the defnitions and your
underlying prescription for African-IT development. Blind copy so as
not to reinvent the wheel is discredited long long ago. Again, don't be
sure that the trichotomy is universally shared and I don't think the
primary concern here is that part of Africa which shares a lot with
the other world either.

>
>As to the issue of Ethiopian Art, well it's all very nice I am sure, but I
am not
>interested. That's a subject for an Art or Culture forum not an African-IT
>forum. IT may play a part but it is not the focus of that 'project'.

The gap is huge here. IT nearly always plays only a part. Needless to say,
IT is only a vehicle that can provide solutions to problems which could be
any thing of priority and preservation and desimination of culture could be
one.  Even the "universal" IT solution provider had to assume a problem/s
which is/are seldom IT related. If seeking for the most appropraite IT
solution to preserve or provide wider electronic accessability etc. to an
African art heritage is not an African IT issue, what is? FYI, it is in fact,
a very hot dessertation topic in the School of Information Science for
African.

Beside, activities of content hunters who slip to the continent under
various guises in pursuit of material gain (selling back the loot to Africa
and any highest bidder as usual) at the expense of the spiritual wealth of
the African people is also a very serious concern constituting a big African
IT issue. What good will IT do for Africa if it is to lead to yet another
round of looting? What good will a discourse on African IT do for Africa,
if it shys away a trail that could potentially lead to devising ways and
meanses of assisting the needy to do it themselves and help them reap the
benifit thereof? if it compromises such practical issues for luxuries like
Y2K? It is embarrassing to think that the technology choises around (for
digitizing) are pretty straight foreward.

Trying to tell us about the focus of "that 'project'",  Clinton seem to have
an insider knowlege. You are welcome to enlighten us more on that. Alas,
there is no shortage of lists for the purely technical -IT per se issues
 but this is among the few places dedicated for a discorse on the technical
as it pertains to Africa. Yet, I can only respect your right not to be
personally interested, though, if you are speaking only for yourself.

>
>All that said, what is the focus of this list ? I have been on it for as long
>time, it's one of the FEW truly African lists, and by that I mean gathered
>from all parts of Africa and those with an interest in Africa and IT. A good
>thrash about whether Y2K is a business or and IT issue is for example
>good one. If I am a retired person with a PC that contains software that
>doesn't have millennium coping structures then I might well differ on the
>opinion about whether Y2k is IT or business as my focus would probably be
>recreation.  Finally i think we need to accept that we all are at different
>levels of expertise and at different stages in careers. The list is forum for
>sharing and should stay that way, we're all literate and big boys and girls,
>we can agree to disagree amicably and a flame or to now and then merely
>displays irritations that some have about certain issues. Establish what the
>cause of the irritation is - off the list; before giving a pounding rebuttal.
>

Now that this trail is taking a focused direction, I would save my
comments on the focus of this list for another post. I know mine was a
bit hard on active and would be perpetrators of a contemptious disregard
to openions of Africans and those who did not yet appologize to the Dr.
and the list. Nevertheless, I strayed with permission and purpose and
the result is showing already.

Sincerely
Dawit Angelo

>
>
>Clinton Jones AMIAP
>PO Box 12292, Centrahil, 6006
>South Africa
>Tel/Fax +27.(041).532067
>
>[log in to unmask]
>http://www.teleworker.co.za/clinton/
>Technologies for the New Millenium"
>

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